Play and Dine: St. Helena:
The peak of Mount St. Helena rises over 4,300 feet in the Mayacamas Mountains. Located in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, the mountain is composed of volcanic rock more than two million years old from the Clear Lake Volcanic Field. Begin in the forest of pine trees and Manzanita bushes on the five mile Stevenson Memorial Trail. Pass a stone monument that commemorates the site where Robert Louis Stevenson spent his honeymoon in 1880. As you wind your way to the top (mostly on a fire road), enjoy gorgeous valley scenes – and on a crystal clear day, see all the way to San Francisco.
The day was warm and sunny so we chose the patio at Goose & Gander for lunch. With its lush landscaping, it was the perfect location to relax after an exhilarating hike. The restaurant is known for their artisanal cocktails. We loved the Paloma Hermosa (tequila, elderflower liqueur, lime, grapefruit, egg white and bitters) and the Pisco Sour Brava (pisco, blood orange spice liqueur, lime, egg white and bitters).
No matter what you choose from the menu, you’ll be happy. Highlights for us included the luscious crudo of Hawaiian lemon snapper, the spicy skillet roasted whole prawns and the seared day boat sea scallops. If that wasn’t satisfying enough, we also shared the gorgeous pork belly wedge. At this point, it would be easy to say we were done, but when the server described the lemon buttermilk pudding cake, we couldn’t say no. It was moist, delicious and served with a huckleberry compote and crème fraiche.
OTHER ESSENTIALS: Half Moon Bay Visitors Bureau; Marin County Visitors Bureau; St. Helena Visitors Center
PATTY BURNESS can be found on Twitter at @pattygb